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Friday, May 24 2019 @ 01:15 PM UTC

A Warning About A Used Car Salesman

Expat Tales

By DON WINNER for - I received this letter this afternoon from Jay Senecal (, and I would like to make it clear that this warning comes from him: "Don, You may want to be aware of this person and post a warning to others Ex-Pats living in panama city to avoid dealing with this person. If you are interested in following up with me regarding this situation I can provide pictures and other peoples experience with Ivan. Please reach me by email for further contact. I am writing this letter to warn Americans living in Panama, specifically Panama City of an untrustworthy businessman. The business' name is Rhino Linings, the owners name is Ivan St. Malo." (more)

Email Continues: " Ivan St. Malo runs an auto mechanic shop in Panama City and has been in business for numerous years. He also sells used autos. Ivan is a VERY untrustworthy person, please do not trust him to do any work on your vehicle, at all! I purchased a used truck from Ivan last Oct under the promise he would help me refurbish the vehicle at his shop. We agreed on a price of $3,000 for his labor from start to finish. From very early on every aspect of this project was a complete mess. Ivan had neither the time nor capability to refurbish this truck. Ivan had promised me he would be able to totally refurbish the truck and have it done in 3 or 4 months. Well, 7 months later, my truck being in dozens of pieces, I finally decided I had enough with this Ivan's BS and I I was going to take the truck into my own possession and bring it back to the US. When I bought the truck it ran, not very well, but it ran. When I took it back it was un-drivable and in 10 times worse condition then when I bought it. Keep in mind I have before and after pics of all this. It is unbelievable what this guy did. But this isn't the best part of the story. When I informed Ivan I was going to take the truck back he rushed to try and get some work done to substantiate the $3,000 fee he wanted. The only work completed was the engine being replaced and the frame getting rhino lined, all of which was done two weeks before I told him I was supposed to take the truck away. To make a long and frustrating story short, the day I came to pick up my truck with a tow truck, Ivan decided he wanted the full $3,000 for the little work he had done. He refused to let my truck out his garage and actually held it hostage till I pay him $4,000 for what he "felt" he deserved. Ivan actually felt as though he should not only be paid the $3,000 for not finishing my truck, but he should also be paid for storage and consulting, none of which was agreed upon or even brought up when I first agreed upon a cost for refurbishing the truck. In the numerous months my truck was there Ivan had done nothing but smooth me over with his BS and made promises he couldn't keep. It was an extremely frustrating experience. When he knew he couldn't finish the job his mind quickly turned to figuring out ways to take my money."

"Before I left Panama back in May of this year I told numerous friends about my story. Oddly as it is I spoke with 3 or 4 people who had similar problems with Ivan. All very similar situations where Ivan had promised to work on their vehicle never finished the work on time, got the vehicle in pieces and then decided to charge them obscene amounts of money to put their vehicle back together again. I had one friend who purchased a used car from Ivan a few years ago and he refused to back up some sort of guarantee that the vehicle worked after it broke down. I would have never written this letter if I felt my situation was a one off situation, but it isn't. This guy prey's upon people who need work done on their vehicles. And its not just Gringo's, he actually gave a Panamanian friend of mine a hard time as well. I wish I would have been warned about Ivan before I ever got into this situation. He cost me thousands of dollars and caused me unbelievable frustration. Stay away from Rhino-Linings and Ivan St. Malo!!"

"Derecho A La Replica" Basically, that means I can republish the email from Jay Senecal without having to worry about these guys suing me, because Jay Senecal is the one with the complaint and I personally have not had any contact or business dealings with these guys. I, while I don't know squat, Jay apparently does, and I can tell you about it without having to worry about being sued. Now, isn't that nice?

Copyright 2008 by Don Winner for Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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A Warning About A Used Car Salesman | 3 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
A Warning About A Used Car Salesman
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, September 09 2008 @ 01:12 PM UTC

I hate to say this but this sounds like about half the business here in Panama. Ive found out the hard way also.

Number one.. no money until the work is done, that means nothing. (Nada)

Number two.. If they need money to get materials or what ever they shouldn't be in business because they don't know how to run a business.

Number three.. (see number one and two)

I have found very few here you can trust, very few. There are some but not many. You have very little recourse and if you decide to take it to court your lawyer will screw you out of what ever else you have and nothing will happen any way. Your a Gringo and you can afford it.... that's the mind set here.

Welcome to a third world country..
That´s my 2 cents worth on the subject.

A Warning About A Used Car Salesman
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, September 11 2008 @ 10:51 AM UTC

I have to agree with Doug,i discovered it also the hard way when i arrived here in february and let some local guy work on my Landcruiser.After 4 weeks of screwing up a smal job (2 days of work) i decided to get my car back whent to a store bought the tools and fixt it myself! I have my own 4X4 shop in Belgium and if i treated my customers there like this i soon wil be out of work.There are a few good mechanics in Panama but it is hard to find them,if you have a problem with a 4X4 car i think it is best to go to the Panama 4X4 forum and ask your question there it has solved some of my problems in the past.

A Warning About A Used Car Salesman
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, September 11 2008 @ 08:38 PM UTC

Hello All .. my name is David and sure Ivan is my friend .. I need to place my part of my version here to make thinks more equilibrated.

Hello Jason ..

I remeber clear the case .. ans ure there is the part of Ivan to complete the hole story, here my part.

The Ford Bronco that was bought by Jason .. yes actually run, bad but run as he described. I don't know the internals of the deal between Jason and Ivan.

All that I know it's Jason wan to run a extensive mods to the Bronco .. that include SO ( spring over ) new engine, new tranny, new t-case and new axles .. it means source all of those parts ( that means money plenty off ) and time ..

I was in the Ivan place many times and other over the phone ( from my own money ) simple to help Jason to make he's dreams with this build ..

Again I don't know if Jason know all the time and job that it's involved ( Joeri sure knows ) in a SO + Engine + tranny + t-case + axle swap ..

Means you are re doing the hole truck .. well, one of the thinks that make the Rebuild slow was the parts .. source the tranny + engine + t-case that Jason source from USA . . it take months .. between those mothns you can do nothing without the parts available to take measurements and start the job ..

I'm not sure about the price or all other deal details .. just wanna said ( write )

Jason, the build that you want ( if was from the begining the idea ) are not a fast job .. even if you have all the parts available in your hands ..